Tuesday, November 18, 2008

4p 11/18 Update: Tool bag lost overboard; grease gun leaks; SARJ work begins

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CBS NEWS STS-126 STATUS REPORT: 33
Posted: 4:00 PM, 11/18/08

By William Harwood
CBS News Space Analyst

Changes and additions:

   SR-30 (11/18/05): CORRECTION of EVA duties
   SR-31 (11/18/08): Spacewalk begins
   SR-32 (11/18/08): Depleted nitrogen tank moved to shuttle; coolant system component mounted on space station; SARJ cleaning work begins
   SR-33 (11/18/08): Stefanyshyn-Piper loses tool bag; grease contamination; SARJ work begins

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4:00 PM, 11/18/08, Update: Stafanyshyn-Piper loses tool bag overboard as she struggles to clean up lubricant from "exploded" grease gun

Spacewalker Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper, arranging tools and work bags before beginning work to clean and lubricate a space station solar array rotary joint, lost a tool kit overboard and along with it two grease guns, a scraper, a debris container and a large trash bag.

When the tool kit floated away, she was struggling to clean up grease inside the bag that somehow leaked out. Flight controllers told her to use tools in fellow spacewalker Steve Bowen's toolkit to replace those that were lost. They may slow the astronauts down a bit - they will be working on opposite sides of the 10-foot-wide solar array drive gear - but they presumably can still accomplish their major objectives.

"I think we had a grease gun explode in the large bag," she reported around 3:33 p.m. "Because there's grease in the bag."

"Ah, it must have been the pressure changes," Bowen observed.

"OK, copy that," Robert "Shane" Kimbrough called from inside the shuttle-station complex. "We're looking at your WVS (helmet television camera) now."

"Yeah, it's on the (still) camera, I got a little bit on my glove," Stefanyshyn-Piper said.

"Endeavour, Houston, for EVA. On the big loop," Mark Vande Hei called from mission control. "We monitored about the grease for Heide, getting deployed in the bag. We recommend using a dry wipe to clean up the camera."

"OK, copy. Heide, did you copy that?" Kimbrough asked.

"I'm cleaning my glove first," she said. A few minutes later, she added: "It's kind of all over the inside of the bag. Not sure what it's coming out of. Oh, one of the J-hooks..."

"Maybe we can get it out and temp stow it on the outside or something," Kimbrough said.

"Well... no, it didn't come off of that one," she said. "It might have come off one of the guns on Steve's bag."

A few moments later, she lost the tool bag.

"Oh, great. We have a lost tool, uh, I guess one of my crew (air)lock bags was not transferred and it's loose."

"OK, Heide, crew lock bag?"

"Yeah," she said. "See it?"

"Yeah, we see it," Kimbrough replied. Television shots from the station showed the soft-sided bag floating away against the backdrop of Earth.

"And I'm still cleaning up grease," she said a moment later.

"Endeavour, Houston, on the big loop for EVA," Vande Hei called. "Concerning the crew lock bag that's floating away, could we get a general direction for which direction it's floating away in?"

"It is floating station aft and starboard," Stefanyshyn-Piper reported.

A few minutes later, she reported that "everything else in this bag is tethered."

"OK, good deal. Looks like you're cleaning up everything, that's great, just keep it nice and slow, no big deal," Kimbrough said.

Kimbrough later told Vande Hei the lost crew lock back included "two grease guns, a wipe caddy, the scraper debris container, the scraper and a large trash bag. We think Steve's got all that stuff as well, so Heide can get working with Steve's equipment if you agree with that and then we'll just share when he gets over here."

Stefanyshyn-Piper then began work cleaning the starboard solar alpha rotary joint, removing a trundle bearing assembly to reach the contaminated bearing surfaces.

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Quick-Launch Web Links:

CBS News STS-126 Status Reports:
http://www.cbsnews.com/network/news/space/current.html

CBS News STS-126 Quick-Look Page:
http://www.cbsnews.com/network/news/space/currentglance.html

NASA ISS Expeditions Page:
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/expeditions/index.html

NASA Shuttle Web: http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/shuttle/index.html
NASA Station Web: http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/station/index.html
Spaceflight Now: http://spaceflightnow.com/index.html
GoogleSatTrack: http://www.lizard-tail.com/isana/tracking/

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